Tselina-Ds, e pluribus (OBS), unum (una familia)

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Wed, 6 Jan 1999 20:42:12 -0500 (EST)

It may be instructive to mention a few recent OBS of Tselinas, as examples 
of the common experience of many observers, that these are among the 
brightest and most prominent satellites. 
Robert Fenske, Jr., rfenske@swri.edu, writes: 
> Subject: Cosmos 1408 fl-a-a-r-r-e ? 
> It flared up to a little brighter 
> than Jupiter (~-3) as though it were the Iridium flare--it was just at the 
> wrong time in the wrong location. It stayed -3 for about 20 sec, then 
> faded to about +0, stayed there for about 20 sec, then faded to +2-+3 for 
> about 20 sec, then faded away.  ... the only 
> satellite I found that more or less matched was Cosmos 1408 (#13552).  Has 
> anyone seen this behavior from this satellite before? 
C* 1408 = 13552 = 82-92 A is a Tselina-D, heavy ELINT F-2, which replaced 
C* 1378 and was replaced by C* 1626.  I have written at some length about 
the Tselina-Ds.  At one time, I lumped the Okeans in with the Tselina-Ds 
and referred to the lot of them as the "Cosmos 1933" family.  The 
Tselina-Ds have been responsible for some of the most spectacular flashing 
ever reported, especially C* 1933 and C* 1953, although, even so, mag -3 
is at the extreme end of the range.  Because many observers have reported 
bright, irregular-brightness, decaying (i.e., lengthening-period) 
flashing, for many of the Tselina-Ds, they have presumably been tumbling 
out of control for some years now, despite suggestions the Tselinas are 
gravity-gradient stabilized.  I haven't counted, but it is possible I have 
observed a thousand passes of these objects, looking for that glint.  You 
will find find quite a few OBS in the PPAS-7 for various Tselina-Ds. 
Even the replacements for this family, the Tselina-2's, are notable.  These 
replacements have been placed in orbit by the large, very bright SL-16, 
Zenit-2 rocket bodies well-known to many observers, and also commonly 
mentioned here in SeeSat-L. 
b@eta.chalmers.se (B Magnus B{ckstr|m) writes: 
> Subject: unid oddball blinker 
> I spotted the satellite very near its culmination high in the west; it was 
> about mag +1 and faded to invisibility in about 30 seconds.  Then, after 
> some 15 more seconds, the was a short blink to 0 mag -- the blink lasted 
> at most a quarter of a second.  I was following the path of the object in 
> case it was a tumbler which might brighten again. 
> I've seen tumbling satellites, strobing satellites, iridiums, but I've never 
> seen something fade slowly and then blink once at me. 
> Subject: RE: unid oddball blinker 
> -- Cosmos 2058 turned out to be a Tselina-D ELINT satellite.  From checking 
> the SeeSat archives it seems those spacecraft are known to put on 
> spectacular displays from time to time. 
> I'll try to spot C2058 again on my holiday trip. 
C* 2058 = 20465 = 1990- 10 A. 
starman@camtech.net.au (Tony Beresford) writes: 
> Subject: USA 86 search 
> Saw a bright ( mag 3.0 object) about on track, 
> and 1.6 minute late on USA 86 elset, but 
> a check with alldat.tle reveals it was 
> Cosmos 1805 (#17191) 
Also a Tselina-D, 1986- 97 A. 
sroller@uscom.com (Sroller) writes: 
> Subject: Cosmos 2228? 
> Last night was hunting for Cosmos 2228 (NORAD catalog number 22286). 
> Caught it go through the constellation Perseus around 22:43 UTC, Jan. 1, and 
> continued to track it about another minute.  I'm wondering if I saw this LEO 
> Cosmos satellite. It appeared to get brighter quite irregularly and was 
> visible the whole time.  I was expecting to see a fairly constant magnitude, 
> but this object seemed to vary better than a few magnitudes.  It almost 
> seemed like it was out of control.  Any clues? 
Also a Tselina-D, 1992- 94 A. 
I am unable to note here on an ongoing basis the Tselina character of every 
Tselina mentioned here, but there have been very many mentioned. 
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